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Currency and addition of Tax VAT depend on your shipping address. Author: Annamaria Pazienza. Add to Cart. Have an Access Token? Enter your access token to activate and access content online. Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token. Have Institutional Access? Forgot your password? PDF Preview. Table of Contents. Related Content. Editors: Sauro Gelichi and Stefano Gasparri. Venice and Its Neighbors from the 8th to 11th Century offers an account of the formation and character of early Venice, drawing on archaeological evidence from Venice and related sites, and written sources.

The work also discusses the birth of neighbouring communities of the northern Adriatic zone relevant to the rise of Venice. Editor: Saskia T. Processes of Cultural Change and Integration in the Roman World is a collection of studies on the interaction between Rome and the peoples that became part of its Empire between c. The book focuses on the mechanisms by which interaction between Rome and its subjects occurred, e.

Each drive also features a features make the pull-out The main touring section of the mapped town or countryside walk- map an excellent addition guide is divided into leisurely drives, ing tour, designed to take no more to the individual drive-itinerary ranging in duration from one to than three hours at a leisurely pace maps within the book.

Most of the tours are with stops on the way. The drives encompass every area of Northern and Central Italy. To help visitors choose and plan a trip, each drive begins with a list of highlights. Introducing Northern and Central Italy The culture, cuisine, traditions and landscape of specialities at the breakfast table. In Northern Northern and Central Italy are best appreciated and Central Italy whether driving through the close up, and there is no better way to home in Alpine peaks of the Alto-Adige, over the rolling on this endlessly fascinating part of the world hillsides of Le Langhe or along the Adriatic than to slow down, leave the busy autostrada coast in Le Marche the visitor will never be far and explore the countryside by its back roads.

When to Go surge in traffic levels. Schools break berries or cherries. Carnevale sees Each drive includes a recommendation up for summer in mid-June and masked and fancy-dress parades for the ideal time to make the trip. The Easter in many towns and villages, most This may be because the scenery is holidays usually begin on the Thursday spectacularly in Venice and Ivrea. Summer week- concerts, dancing and often fireworks. There might be can also be very busy on the roads. Public Holidays a local festival taking place, or it could be that a certain food is in season.

Festivals and fairs take place all over Epiphany 6 Jan The northern half of Italy has a varied Italy throughout the year. As well as Easter Sunday and Monday climate falling into three distinct the Easter and Christmas festivities, Liberation Day 25 Apr geographical zones: in the north, every town and village has a patron Labour Day 1 May expect cold, Alpine winters and warm, saint, and each one marks its saints Republic Day 2 Jun wet summers; in the vast central Po day with special celebrations. Spring Ferragosto 15 Aug valley, summers are hot and humid and autumn are the best times for All Souls Day 1 Nov and winters damp, foggy and freezing; sagras, festivals devoted to local foods.

Immaculate Conception of the Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche enjoy Mushroom, sausage, olive oil, chestnut Blessed Virgin Mary 8 Dec a more clement climate, with long, and wine sagras are common in Christmas Day 25 Dec hot summers and relatively mild autumn, while spring sagras are often Santo Stefano 26 Dec winters.

In general, the best times to devoted to seasonal fruits like straw- visit Northern and Central Italy are spring and autumn, ideally between April and June or September and October, when the climate should be mild without being too hot, and the whole region is generally much less crowded than in high summer. Times to Avoid As far as possible, roads and airports should be avoided at the beginning of August and in the days just before and after Ferragosto 15 August , the national summer holiday.


The start of school holidays also sees a great. Getting There The increasing availability of low-cost ights has revolutionized travel to and within Italy. Provincial airports across the country are now open to international ights from other European cities, both major and provincial. Arriving at a small airport where queues for immigration and baggage are short, and where a hire car can easily be collected often at a discounted rate through the airline company generally makes for the best start to a driving holiday in Italy. Travellers from outside Europe may nd it cheaper to y via London or another European hub Above View of motorway through Val Isarco, to take advantage of the many low-cost ights on oer.

Trentino Alto Adige. Note that on road signs, an airport Alitalia and Aer Lingus fly to airports If you are heading for any of the may be referred to by any of its names, throughout Northern and Central more southerly areas covered by or a combination or, sometimes, by Italy, including Milan, Turin, Bologna, this guide for instance Umbria or the airports international code alone Verona, Venice and Pisa.

Even Arriving by Rail Low-cost carriers including Jet2, if youre heading further north, it Countless direct services including flybe, Ryanair and easyJet fly from may still make sense to fly into Rome many sleepers link Italy with the provincial airports all over the UK if the Italian airline Meridiana can major European cities. Connections and Ireland to small airports across offer a competitively priced way of from Paris and, via Eurostar, from Northern and Central Italy.

Many tiple destinations within a designated Venice and Verona, and there are European carriers fly to Italy via their area, with varying degrees of flexibility. Special discount Air New Zealand offers the best Airports are named not only after the fares are often available online. As deals from New Zealand to Italy but nearest major city, and perhaps the the trains can be extremely busy Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, British nearest village as well, but usually after during peak periods Friday and Airways, Qantas and Emirates are all a famous Italian too.

Air New Zealand www. Delta www. There is no direct motorail ferries with cabins and vehicle decks easyJet www. A grand flybe way to travel, the Istrian peninsula www. Venice is also Lufthansa www. Another busy side from the Stazione Marittima Thai Airways www. The Genoas Stazione Marittima is the Eurostar main route from Austria and southern northwests main ferry hub, with links ; www. A22 motorway via Trento and the companies operate these services, raileurope.

Most motorways are toll including Tirrenia and Grimaldi. Deutsche Bahn roads you pay as you exit them. Practical Information There is relatively little red tape involved in visiting Italy, especially for nationals of other European Union countries. Once you are there, the systems work reasonably well, even if at times they can be rather bureaucratic. Things tend to be more eciently run in the north of the country than in the south, but it is still advisable to sort out your paperwork before leaving home.

If you nd yourself needing to visit a bank, the police or a doctor, make Above The green neon sign of an sure you have a photo ID, a good book and plenty of patience. Italian pharmacy. Passports and Visas or in any activities that are considered If you are taking prescription European Union EU nationals can hazardous, including skiing, wind- medicines, it is a good idea to bring enter Italy and stay indefinitely with surfing and mountaineering. Most the packaging with you in case you a valid passport or identity card. Many pharmacists will be Citizens of the United States, Canada, cover up to a specified amount, as happy to sell you a replacement for Australia, New Zealand and some do comprehensive motor policies.

Pharmacies are also a passport, but will need to apply for Italy has reciprocal health agreements good source of advice on minor a visa at their local Italian embassy with the other member states. All EU ailments. They are signalled by a in advance if they wish to stay nationals are therefore entitled to the green cross, and if the one you go to longer. Citizens of some countries same treatment as Italian nationals is closed, there will be a notice on for example, Bahrain and Bolivia at the same price in Italys public display telling you where to find the will need a visa from the outset for healthcare system.

To be eligible you nearest open one. Insurance Card in the UK, forms are call or go to the pronto soccorso esteri. The card may be possible to find an English- All travellers should consider getting is free and is valid for five years. In speaking doctor or, at least, someone travel insurance. A travel insurance holiday areas there may be a guardia who can translate for you.

All other non- property such as passports and with the sort of accidents that befall EU citizens should make sure that money , as well as for personal tourists; all non-residents will be asked the terms of their health insurance accident, repatriation in case of to pay a flat fee, usually around You will way to get reliable treatment but be In recent years, there has been a need to take out special cover if you aware that this can cost you around marked increase in jellyfish numbers are intending to take part in sports, 30 a visit plus prescription charges.

To relieve the pain and rather than phoning. The carabinieri, the military Via San Paolo 7, Milan; In severe cases, seek medical attention. Either Via Vittor Pisani 19, Milan; prevalent in Italian society than in can furnish you with a crime report, ; www. As a result, mobility-impaired. Take with non-existent or poorly www. On-street parking Medicare Australia and around busy tourist sights; keep and uneven pavements can make www. Make sure you those using sticks or wheelchairs, and leave bags or valuables out of sight for the sight-impaired too.

Recent when you park your car, especially legislation is beginning to make a if you have foreign plates. You will difference in some areas: spacious, always look like a tourist to those with specially adapted toilets are on the Below far left Pedestrian crossing signal a trained eye, but try not to be an increase in bars and restaurants, as Below left Ambulance Below middle Police easy target; look as if you know where are modified bedrooms in hotels; but woman helping with directions Below right youre going, and keep your valuables you should come to Italy aware that Pharmacy specializing in herbal medicine in zip or button-down pockets.

The Telephone System corner of the card before inserting it In Italy, the regional phone code is into the phone. So in calling phone booths are the numerous Italy from abroad, the initial zero of call centres usually found around the regional code must be retained. The international in Europe except Finland. European rates are competitive, you pay mobiles will work in Italy, but when youve finished and you Above Popular Italian newspapers Americans will need a tri-band phone.

Banks and Money it can be patchy near some of the Italy is one of the many European higher mountain ranges. Check with Internet countries whose currency is the your provider for roaming options With the increasing availability of euro. The euro is split into cents. Bancomat ATM machine. Most cards card if you had a codice Public libraries also have a maximum daily withdrawal fiscale Italian tax code.

It is essential However, several reliable Logo seen on Italian hour slots, which you may to inform your bank that you will service providers now public phone boxes need to book in advance. It interest typically 2. If your abroad. Debit or credit cards with cards work well in Italy again, package is urgent, avoid sending a PIN are increasingly accepted at as long as you have an unlocked it registered, as registered mail tends larger shops, hotels, restaurants and European-standard GSM phone.

Stamps francobolli are be used in shops and ATMs abroad. Note sold at post offices, tobacconists and They are available from Thomas that you must snap off the scored at most shops that sell postcards. Cook, Travelex and various banks. Practical Information Sunday Poste Italiane Italian Post Office might get a better rate of exchange opening is generally mornings only. Many large museums now open Once you have arrived, the best throughout the day year-round, with Directory Enquiries exchange rate for cash will usually late-night openings in summer till be obtained at an Italian bank, but 10pm or later Tuesday to Saturday and International Directory Enquiries check the commission fees as they till 8pm Sunday.

Most archaeological can vary widely.

Popular choices

Bureaux de change sites open daily, from 9am until dusk. Operator Services can be found in most towns and also for reverse charge and calling card calls offer the convenience of long Time and Electricity opening hours, but they tend to Like most of Europe, Italy is one hour Italy Country Code charge higher commission rates. Italian voltage is volts. Calling Abroad from Italy are rarely competitive. These aurants and public buildings in , www. The www. Most shops open Monday to Saturday Thomas Cook www. State-run Below middle The Torrazzo clocktower in Crema www. Driving in Italy Driving is one of the best ways of exploring Northern and Central Italy particularly for getting away from the crowds and reaching the more remote areas and sights.

For long distances, Italy has a comprehensive motorway system, easily accessed from the rest of Europe. The condition of minor roads may vary in quality, but most are passable with care. Mountainous terrain can make for an exhilarating drive along twisty, hairpin roads, Above Sign showing the Italian speed limits but be sure to take them at a relaxed pace.

Insurance and left-hand driving, to ensure that the and ViaCard, look for the blue signs. Breakdown Cover hot-spot of the beam lights up the A white sign with only banknotes In Italy it is compulsory for drivers edge of the road and does not dazzle and coins indicates a self-service to have third-party motor insurance.

EU drivers must lane; a white sign with a hand Check with your insurance provider display a country sticker on their car holding the bank notes indicates that you are fully covered to drive unless the numberplate includes that there will be an operator. Avoid abroad; in some cases, drivers will their countrys euro-symbol. UK drivers world to build a motorway: the Italian motorways are designated can arrange full breakdown cover Autostrada dei Laghi, which runs with the letter A followed by a while abroad some companies from Milan to Varese, and was opened numeral for instance A8, for the even offer a package that includes a in Nationwide, there are now Autostrade dei Laghi.

Some motor- hour English-language helpline. If you are driving your own car, you roads planned. The privately built Therefore an Italian motorway can should carry your vehicle insurance motorways are toll roads; non-toll have two numbers: say A11 and E The insurer Strade Statali. On a toll road, you Secondary roads are known as should also provide a European pick up a ticket when you join the strada statale SS , strada provinciale Accident Statement form.

Additionally, motorway and pay as you exit. Tolls SP or strada comunale SC the you will need to carry with you the can be paid in cash, by credit card latter sort is usually very small, and vehicle registration document and a Visa, MasterCard, American Express maintained by the local town council. As you approach a toll used in Italy; you will see the numbers and you have to leave the vehicle. Note that The use of mobile phones in cars Rallentare some roads may just be named, and except hands-free is prohibited.

Seat Slow down may not use a number at all. Centro On motorways, the speed limit for Town or city centre cars and motorcycles over cc is Driving with Children Incrocio kmph 80 mph ; on main roads it Children under 1. Speed to 18 kg 40 lbs in a baby seat, and Parcheggio limits are lower if you are towing see above that in a booster seat. If you are Car park p21 , or if you have held a licence for renting a car, baby and booster seats Senso vietato under three years, in which case you can be hired when you book.

Remem- No entry must not exceed 90 kmph 55 mph ber to check that there is no airbag Sosta vietata on main roads or kmph 62 mph fitted if you intend to put a child in the No parking on motorways. Limits are also lower front passenger seat. Service stations Tutte le direzione if there is fog or heavy rain. If you incur a fine while you are changing facilities are virtually non- driving a rental car, the rental company existent, and there is unlikely to be Below far left Hiking-route signs, Val di Planol will deduct the money from your anywhere for older kids to let off steam Below left Road climbing through a tunnel to credit card when the fine arrives; speed safely.

Some car rental companies hire the village of Pieve Below middle Parking sign fines can range from around out portable DVD players, which might Below right Spa town of Pr-Saint-Didier in the to Tourists who are stopped by make long journeys less stressful. Rules of the Road Buying Petrol a good day to travel if you have a Remember: always drive on the right. Petrol benzina stations are frequent; long distance to cover, as the lorry Most visitors from a country with left- most open from early morning until drivers are safely at home eating hand traffic get used to right-hand lunchtime, then from 3pm till around lunch with their families.

Outside those hours you will Road maintenance is a major issue. Petrol stations rainstorms and baking hot, tarmac- On motorways, Italian drivers can be on motorways tend to be open 24 melting summers. White roads, aggressive. Some of them believe the hours a day. Unleaded senza piombo known as strada bianche, have only inside lane is only for lorries, dont like petrol is universally available, as a gravel surface, though these are being overtaken and rarely use the are diesel gasolio and LPG PLG.

If still marked on road maps. They concentrate on you are driving near Switzerland, its the cars in front of them and those to worth noting that petrol prices there Mountain Roads the side, and if they see a space ahead are about two-thirds of what they Reaching some of Italys most spec- of them, they will fill it. The best advice are in Italy, so it might be worth a tacular viewpoints and mountain is to let them pass. If a car flashes its trip over the border to fill up many passes inevitably involves tackling headlights it is telling you to get out Italians will be doing just that.

If you hairpin bends the Stelvio Pass in of the way, and it is best not to argue. Outside built-up areas, use Road Conditions valleys of the Ortles mountain range. Surprisingly, in a country although rush hours and summer been eroded by heavy winter snow, where football victories and weddings holidays can see the kind of long snow-melt and frost, and it can take are celebrated by convoys of cars tailbacks common to most of Europe. Travel of any kind on either snow and ice, it is safer to avoid moun- Office offers detailed advice on safe side of the national summer holiday, tainous areas in winter conditions, Italian road travel in the Travel Advice Ferragosto 15 August , should be especially on unfamiliar roads.

In by Country section of its website. If you break down and do not www. This Foreign and Commonwealth Office www. If you are in a hire car, www. Service stations produce your rental contract and Police Carabinieri with fast-food restaurants are on the flight tickets.

If you do have pan- increase in particular the Autogrill European cover, your provider will Police Polizia Statale chain, which offers decent sandwiches contact the nearest garage and and usually has a small supermarket make arrangements for you. Fire Brigade where you can pick up basic supplies If you are unfortunate enough to and even some local specialities.

On be involved in an accident, depending Roadside Assistance the back roads, however, you are more on its severity, call one of the emer- likely to find a pretty village with a bar gency services listed in the Directory. You will then need to fill motorway and taking a break in the out a European Accident Statement nearest town or village.

Well-priced see p16 and take the contact details set-lunch deals aimed at local workers and vehicle registration number of pranzo di lavoro are worth looking any other cars involved. If you have a Below far left Mountain road in the Dolomites out for; service will be fast, and you camera, it is a good idea to take photos Below left Symbol of a major petrol company, can get a simple, well-cooked three- of the accident from all angles before Agip Below middle The fertile Val dOrcia, course meal for under Parking Restricted Traffic and Parking in an Italian town or city Congestion Charges can demand a great deal of time and The centres of many Italian towns and patience.

When kerb-space is limited, historic villages are closed to non- drivers tend to park anywhere and resident traffic. These so-called Zone everywhere: on pavements, at bus Traffico Limatato restricted traffic stops, even blocking private entrances. Many of these parking attendants are on the rise, as zones are monitored by cameras, and Above Street mirror on a narrow road in Amiata are zone di rimozione tow-away zones.

Other towns To rent a car in Italy you need to parking is common, triple parking impose traffic restrictions on certain be over 20, and to have held a full becoming more so. Towns and villages days, or at certain times of day licence for at least one year.

Related books and articles

Be sure popular with tourists usually have Bergamo, for instance, does this in its that your rental agreement includes paying car parks just outside the historic centre, Citt Alta. Make sure collision-damage waiver CDW and centre, and many places now operate you read the signs: lavorativo or feriali theft protection, as well as unlimited a zoned parking scheme, with the means Monday to Saturday, and is mileage. Child seats need to be type of zone indicated by the colour of marked by two crossed hammers; booked in advance.

With the rise in the lines on the side of the road. Blue- festivi indicates Sundays and public inner-city congestion, automatic cars zone parking spaces have a maximum holidays, and is marked by a Christian are becoming more widely available. If your hotel is within a restricted When you collect the vehicle you and cost around 1 an hour though area, you will need a police permit to will need to produce your passport, they can be free at lunchtime, after enter with your car they will need to driving licence and credit card from 8pm and on Sundays.

White-zone know your registration number. Yellow-zone areas are for The city of Milan has introduced a a security deposit. Cars are usually residents only. For zones where there congestion-charge scheme Ecopass supplied with a full tank of petrol, is a time-limit but no parking fee, in an attempt to reduce traffic and it is wise to return them refilled, Italian cars including rental cars come volumes and pollution. Other towns as if not, you will be charged at an equipped with a mini clock dial that among them Genoa and Turin inflated rate for filling the tank.

All the major international car rental 10 per cent of the population has When parking, do not leave any companies such as Avis, Budget, a motorbike or scooter. Two-wheel valuables in your car and certainly Hertz and Europcar operate in Italy. Virtually all Italian It is worth comparing rates online the labyrinth of streets that forms the cars have removable car radios, before you decide which to use, as centre of many cities, and you will which Italian drivers invariably take well as investigating any deals offered usually find somewhere free to with them when they park.

Secure, by your airline; low-cost airlines are park, even in the busiest metropolis. Away from the city, Italy is an but hotels can offer guest discounts. You could compare the deals you exhilarating country to traverse by Disabled drivers displaying the have found yourself with those of bike, with roads twisting up and blue disabled badge can park in a reliable car-rental broker such as down mountains and along dramatic designated disabled spaces.

Holiday Autos or AutoEurope.

Article excerpt

Note that if caravan or trailer is 50 kmph 30 mph you are on a motorbike or scooter, a in built-up areas; 70 kmph 45 mph CAR HIRE helmet is compulsory for both driver on secondary and main roads; and AutoEurope and pillion a rule enforced with 80 kmph 50 mph on motorways. The best maps for long journeys Motorcycles must use dipped head- and overall planning are the AA Road Budget www. Regional maps from www. Local they will not plot every country lane Holiday Autos councils have established designated and unsurfaced track.

Touring Club www. These are rarely sold is becoming increasingly common. Blurent www. Some www. In peak season, you will need to If you are intending to use a sat nav book places in advance at camp application on your mobile phone, sites. In quieter areas, free camping check that the software has on-board is on the increase, but it is illegal. Where to Stay Italy has some of the most memorable places to stay in Europe, ranging from grand hotels oozing belle poque glamour to boutique hotels on the cutting edge of contemporary design.

Some boutique hotels are opportunity to experience exceptional run by hospitality-trade professionals, Agriturismi Italian hospitality, whether the setting others by passionate newcomers, The agriturismo scheme began in is a couple of rooms in a simple often from the worlds of architecture the s to enable farmers and city apartment or a glamorous suite and design. Visitors will find plenty landowners to boost falling revenues in a historic palace. The BB Planet of boutique hotels recommended by renting out converted farm website is a useful online resource. In the best-run places, Italian hotels are given an official produce, others have full-blown breakfasts can be fantastic affairs, with rating of between 1 and 5 stars restaurants.

Many offer activities home-made jams and cakes, fresh though the 7-star Town House Galleria such as horse riding, and some have croissants and fruit; at the other end of has recently opened in Milan: www. Note that the with swimming pools, tennis courts a cellophane-packed croissant and a number of stars awarded to a hotel and mountain bikes to rent. This means that the star in coastal and lake resorts often an arrangement with a local caf. They are usually open www. For the tentless, Official agriturismo website Facilities and Prices sites often have bungalows, sleeping www. Single rooms are rare, and you If you want to focus on a single region, www.

Bathrooms, for a week or two. The widest choice can Trip Advisor your sole use. In the cheapest hotels, be found in Tuscany and Umbria, but www. The more expen- properties in exquisitely restored Italian camp sites www. The following price bands are based and surroundings. Weekend rates Castelmuzio Below Hotel Ristorante Locanda expensive over in city hotels are often great value.

Where to Eat One of the great pleasures of travelling in Northern and Central Italy is exploring the rich culinary and wine-making traditions of each region. Every drive in this guide provides the opportunity to sample regional specialities, whether it be the pesto and sh dishes of Liguria, the trues, hams and salamis of Umbria or the cheeses, dumplings and smoked sausages of the Alto-Adige.

Below is a basic guide to the typical kinds of eating places you will nd in Italy, from simple pizzerias to sophisticated gourmet haunts. Practical Information on a separate dish alongside. Finally, Above Sign for a pizza restaurant in Riva del Perhaps the most typical Italian there is the dolce, or dessert. House Garda, near Lake Garda breakfast is a croissant cornetto and wines can vary in quality, but a coffee at a bar.

The coffee comes in quarto quarter , mezzo half or more basic, homely sort of place; the a staggering variety of modes, from 1-litre caraffa carafe will always menu was often scrawled on a short and sharp un caff to long and be at the very least drinkable. An espresso In cities and major towns, credit newsprint to cover the tables and on diluted with hot water to make it cards are widely accepted less so which to write the bill. An osteria was resemble American filter coffee is an in smaller places and in the country, an unpretentious country or city Americano; an espresso with a blob where it is advisable to carry cash.

Tax and service must be included meat with some cheese, and maybe Italians wouldnt dream of having a in the bill by law, and a small cover a simple pasta dish to accompany a frothy cappucino at any time of day charge coperto is usually added. However, that other than breakfast. In summer, there Tipping is becoming more common; has all changed, and these days the is usually iced coffee caff freddo. Ristorante is now a youll find a few restaurants that keep fit the bill.

Men like women will be neutral, generic term that could apply their kitchens open right through to expected to wear tops during meals, to anything from a Michelin-starred dinner, which is usually served from even at beachside places. Only in gem to a seaside joint where mass- pm. Most restaurants are the most exclusive restaurants is dress catering is the order of the day; and closed one day a week and display formal, and men required to wear a although there are trattorie and osterie their giorno di chiusura closed day in tie and jacket.

Children are welcome that have existed for half a century, the window, although in the summer, in restaurants, even late at night. Meals begin with an antipasto, Ristoranti, Trattorie, Osterie Trattoria often implies an interest in or starter, followed by the primo, These are the three main types of reviving and reinventing traditional or first course most commonly restaurants in Italy, and until some dishes; whereas osteria tends to pasta, risotto or, in winter, a minestra years ago they were quite distinct. The secondo is the meat A ristorante was a proper restaurant, the very best primary ingredients and fish course, with the contorno with linen tablecloths and waiters and wines, as promoted, for instance, vegetables or salad usually served in uniform.

A trattoria was usually a by the Slow Food movement. Where to Eat You have more a delicatessen alimentari where you on a three-course meal for one, chance of striking gold if you go to can buy delicacies such as rosemary- including a half-bottle of house wine, a pizzeria with a wood-burning oven spiked hams, mature gorgonzola, cover charge, tax and service: forno a legna , from which the pizzas speck and olives; a bakery il forno ; inexpensive under 25 should emerge bubbling, scorched and a greengrocer fruttivendolo moderate and blistered.

Pizzerias are almost or market mercato packed with expensive over 45 always informal places, and pizza is seasonal fruits and vegetables. The classic accompaniment markets also bring together local to pizza is a cold draught beer. Cafs and Bars There are often stalls with specialities At one end of the spectrum are grand from the south of Italy too capers, cafs with chandelier-lit interiors and sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella di terraces fringing some of the most bufala and spicy salami which add spectacular piazzas in Italy; at the other, an exotic touch.

Less romantically, modest local bars with s colour Italian supermarkets, including schemes, steaming coffee machines chains like Esselunga and Una, stock and dusty plastic flowers. These very good-quality fresh produce as unpretentious neighbourhood bars well as freshly baked bread. Some have a few tables outside Chiavenna steak or a freshly caught Sansepolcro market Below left Fruits on a for a more leisurely breakfast or apritif, red mullet.

Around the lakes you will Bolzano market stall Below middle Al fresco though you should find time at least find free beaches spiaggia pubblica dining in Orvieto Below middle right once on your trip to dawdle over a where you can settle on a grassy Subterranean wine vault, Canonica a Cerreto, Campari soda and olives in a traditional patch by the lakeside and enjoy Chianti Below This bakery in San Casciano pavement caf watching life pass by. In the Shadow of the Alps Turin to Castello di Rivoli Highlights Royal Turin Admire the sweeping boulevards, elegant hunting lodges and pleasure palaces of this aristocratic city Gourmet Piedmont Taste the regions famous mushrooms and truffles and sample the rich, French-influenced cuisine Strategic mountain passes Walk in the footsteps of some of historys greatest armies Hannibal, Augustus and Napoleon all marched through the Alps near Aosta Paradise park Explore Italys first national park, the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, and see ibex, chamois, marmots and magnificent golden eagles.

In the Shadow of the Alps The rolling hillsides around Turin produce some of the worlds most delectable wines and prized gourmet delicacies, such as white true and various kinds of cheese. Encircled by palaces and former hunting lodges and set against the amphitheatre of the snow-capped Alps, Aiguille du Midi Ferret. Turin is well-endowed with beautiful architecture and cutting-edge m Arnouvaz. The tour then passes through the dramatic landscape of Col.

Colle d. La Thuile Sarre S. Bernardo ch e M. Paramont en Introd. Hike in the mountains and then take a chairlift or cable car from Courmayeur or La Thuile up to the highest peaks in Europe. Number of days: 34, allowing half Grand Combin a day to explore Turin. Stretches M. Emilius of the route between Pr-Saint-Didier m M. Val d. Almese Tor. Airasca Carignano find a host of buildings to explore Villa- stellone in Turin with the works of Baroque architect Juvarra, and impressive museums and churches. Outdoor enthusiasts can take the mountain air in historic Aosta.

For full details, see p Its Museo Torino. Park under Piazza Vittorio. Indeed, it was the first capital and has a garden for al fresco meals. Today, it is the countrys design and Via Nino Costa 4, ; ; contemporary art capital. And, for a taste of the dolce vita, Turin is www. Des Artistes moderate Centrally located near the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, this boho chic hotel has just 22 A three-hour walking tour of cinema with props and classic film pleasant and well-appointed rooms and From Piazza Vittorio Veneto, clips, including the car chase in The offers good, professional service.

Take the glass lift to ; www. Next, old Fiat factory designed by Renzo Antonelliana 1. Topped by turn right and then left into Piano , this hotel has minimalist airy a m ft spire, this the wide Corso San Maurizio rooms, glass walls and large bathrooms. Continue through the lent Museo Nazionale del Madonna and child, park to the far corner and Below clockwise from top left The grand Cinema closed Mon. The opulent exterior of the Palazza Madama in the Piazza production capital of the world interior is graced with chinoiserie, Castello; dome of the Chiesa di San Lorenzo The museum re-creates the story gold, velvet and tapestries.

A MA Chiesa di. GLI UR. TEB E. Two tombs of over 50 members of the LOsteria del Corso inexpensive of Turins most atmospheric cafs are Savoy family. Duke Vittorio Amedeo Simple, good family-run fish place. The funicular ride 4 open daily. The interior of this from Sassi station just below up to Cera Una Volta moderate church is a Baroque fantasy of marble, the basilica is always popular with chil- Welcoming restaurant offering regional specialities and an excellent menu stucco and gilding.

It also has a dren. A large plaque in the grounds degustazione. Corso Vittorio replica of the Sindone di Torino Turin commemorates the tragic loss of the Emanuele ll 41, ; ; Shroud , believed to be the sheet in Grande Torino football team, whose www. The Museo del Grande Torino Ristorante del Cambio expensive Quadrilatero 5 the gridded area displays the teams memorabilia. Turins most famous restaurant serves authentic bollito misto a mix of that recalls the old Roman settle- Head west to pick up SS11 then cooked meats.

Booking essential. The cobbled streets are full SP Castello take SR to Biella. The collection includes papyri, a black statue of Ramses ll 13th century BC , sarcophagi and the tomb of Kha and Merit c. At the heart of Textile Valley, Biella Go north, signposted Champdepraz, is famous as a major centre for high- turn right at SR6, left at SS26 towards quality wool and yarn production, Aosta and follow signs to Fnis. More than 50 Local cuisine matches robust flavours factory outlets line the industrial with French flair, reflecting the areas approach roads many of which are relationship with the House of on the SS look for spaccio on Savoy.

The woods, especially near signs, meaning outlets. There are Alba, are truffle- and mushroom- also outlets in Biella see right. The rich and any dish with salsa di tartufi bianchi will be delicious. Bagna town has a compact, attractive cauda is a warm, aromatic dip made centre and highlights include the with oil, anchovies, garlic and cream.

Franco Arminio

Renaissance basilica and cloister of Blue gorgonzola is the best- known St Sebastian, with lovely frescoes cheese dolce creamy or piccante inside. A funicular goes up to the crumbly , but look for soft cheeses, beautiful medieval village of Piazzo. Fork right on SP73, then with Albas white truffles. Set on such as Il Melograno closed Wed. AOSTA il melograno of iron. Much restored Its origins date to the 13th century, Hotel Europe moderate over the years, the palace has vivid but what is visible today is largely Set in the heart of the old town, this frescoes of 15th-century street life, the creation of Aimone de comfortable hotel albergo is both elegant and welcoming.

Its 63 rooms along with period furniture and arti- Challant, who belonged to a noble are decorated to a high standard and facts. Nearby, the village Champdepraz family linked to the Savoys. The castle there is a pleasant restaurant. The inner Agriturismo lArc en Ciel inexpensive This working farm has five pleasingly furnished rooms. Home-grown produce is served in the fine restaurant. Extremely good value. Its 22 rooms are clad in pine and there is a warming, wood-burning oven in the restaurant. Via Laydetr 7, ; ; www. There is also a small museum of local furniture inside.

There is a car park at Piazza Arco dAugusto. To south to Cogne. The chef, Alfio Fascendini, bell tower and an elegant cloister. Today, it Via Tourneuve 4, ; ; purchased from cuckoo clocks to is home to the endangered ibex, www. Maps of the footpaths and Lou Ressignon to the city. Inside, on the right, lie routes are available from the visitor inexpensivemoderate the remains of a Roman theatre.

Just information centre Via Bourgeois 34, Well-established family-run inn specializing in authentic Valdostano to the north, accessed through the ; A path meanders specialities. At weekends, music Convento di San Giuseppe, is the south to Valnontey, where the complements feasting. Also has rooms.

Amphitheatre open daily. The best time to see Splendid little restaurant with a warm, art treasures from the area in the these is from late-June to mid-July. Visitors can also buy some excellent produce in the shop. OctMar: closed Mon. Next to the left on to the SS This road becomes Rue Grand Paradis 21, ; Duomo is the Roman Forum with a the Avenue du Gant Champex ; reduced hours in low season supporting arcade cryptoporticus. While there are many outlets just outside town, within Biella itself is Fratelli Cerruti Via Cernaia 40; open daily , selling men and womens classic clothes with 30 per cent plus discount, and sportswear specialist Fila Via Cesare Battisti 28; closed Mon mornings.

Nearby La Thuile reached via the SS26; closed in winter was once a mining area and is now a picturesque skiing and hiking town, and more of a family resort than chic Courmayeur. In summer chairlifts allow access to heights of 2, m 7, ft for some spectacular walking and trekking. Take the SS26, entering France on the D The main hub, Via Roma, pass in the Alps on the French-Italian There is a large car park by the cable is traffic free and full of designer shops border. It was an important invasion car to Plan Checrouit, on the southern and gourmet gems.

The Museo route and Napoleon I built a road edge of town. Alpino Duca degli Abruzzi Piazza there in It is also believed by Visitor Information Abb Henry 2; ; closed Wed some to have been Hannibals pass Piazzale Monte Bianco 8, ; morning tells tales of dramatic moun- when he marched his army and ; www.

Enter Italy on. There are 33 the picturesque town Pr-Saint-Didier w Exilles individually designed rooms, together is famous for its warm thermal waters. The restaurant is noted for its excellent food and service. There is a splendid fort. Exilles Fort Via degli ; www. The waters are said to valley, but also a great example of this prestigious hotel is noted for its have detoxifying, toning and anti- military architecture. A fort has kept charm and good service.

There is a inflammatory properties. There is also a very pleasant restaurant. Via Roma 87, ; ; www. France and Italy since the 12th century, although what is visible today is mainly from the 19th century. It is said that from , the Man in the Iron Mask, a prisoner whose face and identity remain a mystery to this day, was incarcerated within these walls.

Many have theorized as to his identity, most famously Alexandre Dumas, who postulated that he was Louis XIVs identical twin. It is an imposing Baroque Head back northeast on the SS The Combal. Established in , it draws remarkably well-preserved marble customers from all over the area. In the medieval Michelin-starred restaurant in the historic centre, the Romanesque Museo dArte Contemporanea, featuring classic Piedmont dishes, Cattedrale di San Giusto open daily , but with very creative twists dating from the 12th century, has a variant of molecular gastronomy lovely frescoes and a fine campanile.

This is where full of gourmet delights. Then head out to the grand fairytale castle in Fnis 6. Next, those based in Aosta, the amazing hunting lodge Palazzina di Caccia di head to Cogne 8 to visit the Parco mountain scenery is easy to explore. Stupinigi 1 and the magnificent Nazionale del Gran Paradiso for an Castello di Rivoli r filled with invigorating walk among breath- Baroque architecture tour thought-provoking modern art.

Aosta is located on the SS In the Land of the Truffle Barbaresco to Cuneo Highlights Kings of wine Taste the nectar of the gods made from the Barolo and Barbaresco vineyards in the Langhe region Gourmet delights Linger over your meal in Bra, the home of Slow Food, and savour the famous white truffle of Alba Mountain rides Zig-zag up the mountain pass from Sampeyre for spectacular views Valley pastures Stroll along the lush, wooded Valle Maira to the sound of sheep bells Timeless Saluzzo Take a tour of mellow Saluzzos historic core, through frescoed Renaissance houses and palazzi.

In the Land of the Truffle Piedmonts attractions are diverse. The vine-braided hills of the Langhe yield velvety and elegant wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco among Italys most celebrated while in the oak woods around Alba, keen-nosed hounds sni out valuable musky white trues. Villages in the area are dotted with ne restaurants Bra was the birthplace of the Slow Food movement , which make the most of the bounty of hazelnut and chestnut groves, fruit orchards and mountain pastures. Castles and churches perch on hills; Occitan, the ancient Romance language of troubadors, is still spoken in the Alpine valleys; and the dramatic mountain scenery is never less than enthralling.

Vari Ruffia la Colletta M. Bracco Ostana San Cavallermaggiore. Indulge in gourmet food in the Colletto Robilante m so village or mountain restaurants s Ge. Entracque Vernante frescoes in the villages above n e. Matto ag. Number of days: 34, allowing for a day in the Langhe region and a day each for Valle Varaita and Valle Maira. Distance: Approx km 90 miles. Road conditions: Roads are well- surfaced, but not always numbered. Rural routes are slow, winding and popular with motor bikers and cyclists Sommariva at weekends. Mountain passes can be.

T Sanfr Castagnole Corneliano delle Lanze passing places. Late autumn sees fog throughout. The T. Opening times: Shops tend to open i Dem. Monforte some closing on Monday morning. Museums vary; those in smaller places close in the weeks Fossano early part. Check ahead out of season. Magliano Shopping: Alba is full of shops selling Alpi truffles and truffle-infused products oil, pasta, pure as well as hazelnut Morozzo cakes and sweets. Cuneo is famous Above Abandoned brick bridge on the route to Bra, see p43 Below Lofty mountain peaks of for chestnuts and Bra for its cheese.

Outdoor enthusiasts can head for the pretty villages, valley greenery and mountain scenery of the Valle Varaita. Step Barbaresco, overlooking the Tanaro inside the cathedral to see the lovely river, makes a good introduction wooden choir stalls depicting still to the hilltop villages of the Langhe lifes and townscapes, inlaid in area, whose vineyards spill down the by Bernardino Fossati. The main street, slopes in geometric patterns towards Via Vittorio Emanuele II, is lined with the rolling hills beyond.

A stroll down shops selling truffles, oils, pastas, Via Torino reveals characteristics wines, cheeses and chocolates. Turn left at Gallo for Grinzane one of a string of medieval watch- Cavour signposted. Park by the castle. The pleasures of the table ubiquitous regional enoteca, housed were held in high regard even before in the former church of San Donato. Look for bagna Cascina Rein inexpensive cauda hot bath an olive oil dip A liberty-style villa with great views, set with anchovies and garlic, fritto misto among vineyards and orchards a short 2 Alba fried meats , bollito misto boiled drive east of Alba on Viale Cherasca.

Cuneo, Piemonte; meats , tajarin egg tagliatelle and Truffle hunts can be arranged. Alba rose to prominence in medieval agnolotti egg ravioli , the mountain Localit Altavilla 9, ; ; times, when brick towers cheese castelmagno, and the testicles www. During October and Cuneo, Piemonte; A short drive southwest of La Morra, November, swarms of chefs and food The magnificent 16th-century Castello its a good base for wine-country tours. Via Rittane 7, Frazione Vergne, ; ; www. On its faade, he is portrayed 19th century.

His bed, mayoral sash fine antiques and furnishings, a lush garden and pool. Good breakfast too. Via Roma , ; ; Below left Green rolling hills and vineyards around Barbaresco Below right The famous truffle www. In November, the castle gains worldwide attention with its prestigious white truffle auction, when astronomical amounts of money sometimes in excess of , for a single lot change hands. More affordable for visitors are the fine wines and grappas for sale in the attached regional enoteca. Above left The exquisite dome of the Chiesa views across wine country.

Theres Tremlett in exchange for a supply also a well-priced tasting menu. Enrico Crippa.

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On the ground floor, La The highlight of this diminutive town Piola offers less expensive, rustic fare. King of Wines. The vineyard has This lively town its name coming from piazzaduomoalba. Through Slow Food movement. As a result, for hazelnut chocolate truffles. The tour ends in the tempio restaurants here. The tall church of fondue , and beef braised in Barolo. Theres an enoteca the words of its creator Bernardo closed Wed on hand for those who want to buy. Park in Piazza Martiri.

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Chiesa di SantAndrea open movement with a lovely courtyard daily is giddily Baroque, from its setting, this serves rabbit tajarin thin 5 La Morra statue-topped faade to its altar tagliatelle with butter and sage. Via Mendicit 14, ; ; Cuneo, Piemonte; packed with candles. Antique toys www. Other options bars for tasting.

Park in Viale del Sole or Viale drunken cheese aged in grape skins , Castello is rewarded with superb Gozzano around the Parco Graneris. Above Riverbed on the way to Sampeyre in the Valle Varaita Above right The historic 7 Savigliano celebrates the exploits of Vittorio centre of Saluzzo, with views across the valley Cuneo, Piemonte; Amedeo I, Duke of Savoy, in a series Despite losing out to Turin in the of bold military frescoes, and has bid to be the capital of the Savoy more decorative feminine rooms too.

Close by is the Baroque 18th-century pharmacy. Palazzo Taffini dAcceglio enquire Follow the signs for Saluzzo at tourist office for admission , which directly westwards on the SP Almost in France, the city was constantly changing hands between the French and the House of Savoy. On a walk through the narrow lanes and steep cobbled alleyways and steps up to the old town, it feels as though time has stopped here. To the left stands the Master of Elva.

The tourist office is Park in Piazza Garibaldi. Cross Corso Italia Vergine 1 open daily , whose faade and turn left through the Porta Santa Tourist Information Piazza Risorgimento 1, ; has three round windows. The interior Maria 2 and follow Via Alessandro ; www. CO CIT. FR VA A. Vicolo Mercati 10, ; ; VI.

CH LT. TA RE. CH NI I. RIO TT. RA O FE. LL A MU. Set on a hill amid parkland, this IST. ORI AV rooms. R beauty treatments are also available. Volta, lined with porticoes, to Madonna della Misericordia altarpiece Piazzetta dei Mondagli 3, where, at in Room 5. Dont miss the glorious number 5, the 19th-century writer panoramic view. Head back houses with frescoes, loggias and along Viale della Liberazione and terracotta decoration, and on to the Via Savigliano to the car. Climb up for marvellous to Sampeyre. The road is slow, with views over the medieval rooftops to some sharp bends. Park in Piazza the mountains.

At the top of the della Vittoria. Salita are the Piazza Castello 5, the Fontana della Drancia a favourite 9 Sampeyre spot for newly married couples to Cuneo, Piemonte; be photographed , and the bulky The road follows and crosses the Castiglia 6 with its formidable keep Varaita river as it winds its way Above The rugged Valle Maira seen from once home to the marquises and through the Valle Varaita to the largest the road to Elva Below Stream cascading later until a prison.

Visit to see the brick church and the the tourist office in Piazza della Romanesque bell tower of San Vittoria for information. Along the Giovanni 7, begun in If the way, leafy woods and lofty mountains church is open, look in at the frescoes frame the views. Of interest are the by Pietro da Saluzzo and, in the apse, terracotta church of Santi Pietro e the Cappella dei Marchesi, burial Paolo open daily , which has frescoes place of Ludovico II, who is ornately by the Biazaci brothers, and a small, displayed as a medieval knight.

On the way to Sampeyre, General of the Marquis, Galeazzo stop at Piasco look for the brown La Gargotta del Pellico moderate Located in the historic centre, this Cavassa, it was restored by a devotee sign to visit the Victor Salvi Harp excellent restaurant uses quality of the arts in the s and filled with Museum JunSep: open MonFri; ingredients for a seasonal menu of Renaissance art and antiques. There OctMay: open SunFri. The seafood dishes are a coffered ceilings. The highlight.

Good wine list and friendly service. Wood and rubble houses line the isolated valley at Elva, a village once famous for collecting and selling womens hair for wigmaking. The 15th-century Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, decorated with animal and human heads on its exterior capitals, is adorned inside with a colourful series of frescoes by Hans Clemer.

The SP is signposted to Stroppo. Park in the square by the church. There are lovely walks leading to waterfalls and lakes from here and from Chiappera, a little further on , but arm yourself with a good map before setting off. Take SP back through Stroppo and east to Dronero. Park in Piazza XX Settembre on the west side of town. For the Riserva Ciciu, take the SP24 towards Busca for 2 km 1 mile , then turn left at the crossroads for Villar Above left and right The pleasant townscape San Costanzo and follow the signs. This river.

Four prettily furnished rooms in a typical rustic 19th-century village tower and contains beautiful frescoes Also of interest are the octagonal house, accessed down steep cobbled by the Master of Stroppo. To see inside, grain market and the Museo Civico stone steps. Drive to the ; www. Clustered in the Tetto Garrone inexpensive w Acceglio woods, the ciciu puppets are huge, Surrounded by nut groves, this lovely Cuneo, Piemonte; eroded rocks with stone caps, up farmhouse has large modern rooms, a At an altitude of 1, m 4, ft , to 10 m 30 ft high.

They were left courtyard garden of white flowers and a kitchen for the use of guests. Acceglio is the last town of the Valle behind after the glaciers retreated. Via Campagna 45, Roata Rossi, Maira. During the 16th century, it was There are some great views and it Roata Rossi is signposted off SR ; a stronghold of Calvinism, allowing is an excellent spot for a picnic. Look for signs Elegant hotel with 40 rooms, central location and garage parking a king and a pope have been past guests. It can organize truffle hunts in autumn.

Via Roma 37, Cuneo, ; ; www. There is parking beyond the baths. Set in the Parco delle Alpi Marittime www. Take the third exit, go Lou Savranot moderate Retrace the journey here, turning straight over the next roundabout This tiny, brick-vaulted restaurant has a right for Entracque before Valdieri.

Bear hot , game, trout and wild herbs. Via Nazionale 64, Fraz. Park paid by the lake. Cuneo, Piemonte; Sun; closed Jan; booking advised The university town of Cuneo, t Lago della Rovina wedged between the Gesso CUNEO Cuneo, Piemonte; and Stura rivers, has a purposeful, Osteria della Chiocciola moderate The drive climbs gently through the bustling air and is a good base for The first-floor restaurant serves great specialities such as ravioli ripieni di mountains to the Parco delArgentura exploring many parts of Piedmont.

Its impossible to miss the west of the wide 19th-century Theres also a bustling wine bar beneath. Take costumes and displays prehistoric, Arione moderate a gentle hike through the woods Roman and medieval artifacts. The local delicacy is Cuneesi al rhum around the lake, or make a full day Strolling through the town, look out a kind of bittersweet chocolate truffle made with rum.

Ernest Hemingway of it and head over the ridge to Lago for tempting displays of chestnut stopped by to try it in Look sweetmeats and Castelmagno Piazza Galimberti Tancredi 14, ; out for marmots, chamois and eagles. Drive on through spectacular food and wine of the Langhe especially in the golden evening mountain scenery to the villages vineyards and the hilltop villages.